Like every other industry, the medical industry has become a highly competitive one and to stay relevant, digital marketing in healthcare is essential. Today, increasing importance is given for online marketing because most people go online to find information about healthcare, and it is vital that your website shows up among the top organic search engine results. Having a successful website for your healthcare organization facilitates patient engagement and helps draw more potential patients to your website.
Medical SEO refers to methods that are used to improve the visibility of your page or website in search engine rankings. Optimizing natural SEO rankings is not easy. So, using the right SEO strategies can ensure that your website ranking increases, website traffic improves and there is better patient growth. The following are the key SEO factors healthcare businesses need to prioritize.
- Focus on intent: Users generally use keyword phrases to search content. For healthcare marketers, the focus should ideally be on query content. Google has also moved away from exact keyword matching optimization to query content to deliver better results. For example, most of the healthcare searches are for doctors in a particular specialty in a specific locale, or to get more information about a healthcare related topic. So, make sure that your website is optimized to suit different types of search intent.
- Local search: Local search refers to the process of optimizing your site to generate traffic from location-based searches. It is the grouping of similar businesses in the map that shows up near the top of the page in a Google search. So, when people look for medical services that are within their locality, Google can list out the nearest medical practice or healthcare business. Therefore, make sure that your website is local SEO optimized to attract more foot traffic to your healthcare service.
- Voice search: This is the age of mobile searches and spoken commands are quickly becoming the norm for accessing content on search engines. In 2016, Google said that more than 20 percent of all queries on its mobile app were carried out by voice and this is expected to rise in the coming years. Optimizing your website for voice search will increase the chance of your content being shown as a featured snippet in Google’s search engine results. Moreover, voice search is highly useful for people with disabilities. Voice assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa etc provide a hands-free way to quickly search for answers, make appointments and even have a telehealth visit. Voice assistants are like search engines and they give answers in bits of content retrieved from some database or search engine. Users of voice search technology ask questions, so having content structured to answer questions is a great best practice.
- Importance of video: Videos have gained popularity over the last few years. Video content is an important ranking factor. Videos are much more engaging than written content and helps potential patients understand medical information better. A simple way to tap into the power of video SEO is to repurpose the existing content into video format and optimize the metadata and publish that content on YouTube or other video channels. This helps your patients to consume the content easily.
- Patient experience: Google’s algorithm keeps changing to provide better user experience with better relevant results. Better user experience and engagement are important metrics for healthcare SEO ranking. Good user experience can minimize bounce rates and it is an indicator of the quality of the website and its content. There are several other patient experience metrics that signal poor quality, such as average session duration, dwell time and page views. All of these factors tell Google to paint a picture of the overall quality of your healthcare website. The main aim of improving user experience is to increase web traffic.
- Mobile-friendly site: Most of the web searches today come through mobile, therefore having a mobile website is essential for medical websites. Moreover, Google has launched mobile-first indexing and announced that this would be the default standard for websites, which means mobile friendliness is a search engine ranking factor. If your medical website is not mobile optimized then your website will be losing a lot of potential patients. Along with mobile friendliness, fast page loading speed is also essential because if your page loading speed is slow, then there are chances of rising bounce rates. You can test and monitor the speed of your healthcare website using Google’s free speed test tool and this tool will give you recommendations for improving site speed.
- Omni channel marketing: To ensure a seamless patient journey it is important to integrate different healthcare marketing strategies into a single holistic approach. Omni channel marketing includes various channels to provide patients with an integrated, seamless experience throughout the channels. Be it PPC or YouTube, widening your healthcare marketing techniques improves healthcare SEO and it will improve your ranking.
- Quality content: Content is king and this will continue to be so because users are always in search of rich and valuable content. Create and share valuable content that will rank higher. Google gains from valuable content because users are happy that the search engine has delivered relevant content that helped them address their problem. This will help establish you as an authority, and Google will continue to drive more traffic to your website.
SEO ranking for medical sites requires numerous techniques, effort, time and money for optimum results. It is crucial for healthcare organizations and physicians to consider digital marketing in healthcare to be visible to people searching for specific healthcare services. By ensuring that your organization’s website is optimized for search engines such as Google or Bing, you will appear at the top of the search results for the most relevant keywords related to the services you offer. Higher search visibility means more patients and higher profits.